PROS / UltraKey focuses on developing children's accuracy and keystroke memory through success-based instruction. The application distinguishes between kinds of typing errors, which helps to pinpoint trouble areas correctly.
CONS / It lacks typing games that would add an element of fun for kids.
VERDICT / Outshining most of the competition in application efficacy and reporting, UltraKey is fantastic software for young typists.
UltraKey 6 is unique, success-based kids typing software that helps children develop touch-typing fluency through proper ergonomics instruction, accuracy building and speed training. UltraKey is widely used in schools, libraries and universities across North America. The application earns our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for kids typing software because it provides unmatched progress reporting, excellent usability and effective typing training for children of all ages.
Lessons & Drills
UltraKey differs from most of the kids typing applications on our lineup. This software is success-based rather than game-based, meaning the software uses encouragement, goal setting and praise instead of games or rewards to motivate new typists. While it may seem like this approach is counterproductive with children, it is just as effective as a game-based system.
As children make their way through UltraKey, the application frequently celebrates typing successes, like achieving a new accuracy percentage. This keeps children engaged and motivated while learning how to type. If your kids really want to play a typing game, UltraKey offers instructions on how to make a typing game out of the application's practice typing form in its help section.
UltraKey includes 14 typing lessons specifically for kids. While this is not as many lessons as some other kids typing software, it is no less comprehensive. Each lesson focuses on a specific group of keys and includes dozens of typing exercises. The lessons help children build accurate keystroke memory so that they can graduate from conscious, single keystrokes to fluent touch-typing. The software does this by teaching your child to automatically process letter chains and words rather than individual letters.
This application places a strong emphasis on learning proper typing technique and accuracy. This is notable because many typing applications for kids primarily focus on speed. UltraKey emphasizes that once a child masters correct typing posture and attains fluent keystroke memory, typing speed will come naturally and will improve with practice.
The application is adaptive and allows your children to progress at their own pace. They take an initial skill assessment when they first start using the application to determine their current typing level. The software recommends lessons and performance goals based on those results.
UltraKey allows up to eight individual logins under a single license. This makes the application ideal for use by families, homeschoolers or small school groups. There is also a network version that is useful for larger groups, such as school districts.
While UltraKey is designed for beginner typists of all ages, the application boasts a number of features that make it especially fitting for children who are learning how to touch-type. To start, the software has sounds for both correct and incorrect keystrokes. These can help your kids develop keystroke memory and improve their typing accuracy. This software also has adjustable challenge levels, auto-save and guide hands that hover over a virtual keyboard. When your child makes a mistake during an exercise, the guide hands come to life and show them the proper finger movement for that particular key or set of keystrokes.
You get several options to customize this children's typing application. UltraKey understands that children can vary greatly in terms of intelligence, maturity and learning styles. Because of this, the software offers a wide range of personalization options so that you can tailor the application for a particular child's needs.
For example, UltraKey offers 12 different interface themes, which include some designed for special-needs kids. You can also input specific performance goals for your child to work toward and customize the font and size of the text used in the application. If you have a child who needs to work on specific typing skills, you can create your own custom lessons and typing tests.
Although UltraKey is not exclusively typing software for kids, it is remarkably easy to use and navigate; even young children will have no problem using the software. In fact, the manufacturer states that children as young as 6 years old can effectively use this application. The intuitive layout makes for straightforward navigation, and the bright colors and virtual, animated typing tutor will appeal to children. The software displays words of encouragement at the end of each typing exercise, which is an important component in the application's success-based methodology.
UltraKey offers excellent progress reporting. In fact, the depth and extensiveness of its progress tracking outshines most of the comparable applications we reviewed. At the end of each typing exercise, the software highlights your kids’ typing errors. Not only does the application display the total number of errors, but it also lists the number of wrong keys, missed keys and incorrectly inserted keys.
The software makes it easy for kids to see which types of errors they made by using a different color to highlight each type. This reporting feature is notable because it is unique to UltraKey and can help you better diagnose their trouble spots.
UltraKey also provides cumulative progress reports. The report details your kids’ performance by key, as well adjusted words-per-minute (WPM) rate and accuracy percentage. The reports are not in a very easy-to-read format, so you may need to help your youngsters understand the results.
Help & Support
UltraKey comes with an abundance of support resources. Perhaps most notable is the application's built-in video tutorials. These cover important keyboarding essentials and add a fun, interactive element to your kids’ learning. There is also a user manual and a built-in help section where you can learn more about the different functions in the application. The application even includes a manager's guide for parents, teachers and school administrators.
Some people may mistakenly write off this typing software for kids simply because it does not have the breadth of typing games found in similar applications, but this is much to their own detriment. UltraKey delivers effective yet engaging instruction that adapts to children's typing levels and learning styles.